Charles James Lever.

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" Nothing of the kind, Molly. The whole affair was
contrived among the prisoners. Freney, the well-known
highwayman, was in the gaol, and, although not tried, his
conviction was certain."

" And they say he has escaped. Can it be possible that
some persons of influence, as the journals hint, actually
interested themselves for the escape of a man like
this ? "

" Everything is possible in a state of society like ours,

" But a highwayman a robber a fellow that made the
roads unsafe to travel ! "

"All true," said Daly, laughing. " Nobody ever kept a
hawk for a singing bird ; but he's a bold villain to pounce
upon another."

" I like not such appliances ; they scarcely serve a good
name, and they make a bad one worse."

"I'm quite of your mind, Molly," said Daly,


thougtfully ; " and if honest men were plenty, he would
be but a fool who held any dealings with the knaves.
But here comes the car to convey me to the Corvy. I
will make a hasty visit to Lady Eleanor, and be back with
you by supper- time."



NEITHER of the ladies were at home when Bagenal Daly,
followed by his servant Sandy, reached the Corvy, and
sat down in the porch to await their return. Busied with
his own reflections, which, to judge from the deep abstrac-
tion of his manner, seemed weighty and important, Daly
never looked up from the ground, while Sandy leisurely
walked round the building to note the changes made in
his absence, and comment, in no flattering sense, on the
art by which the builder had concealed so many traits of
the Corvy's origin.

"Ye'd no ken she was a ship ava!" said he to himself,
as he examined the walls over which the trellised creepers
were trained, and the latticed windows festooned by the
honeysuckle and the clematis, and gazed in sadness over
the altered building. " She's no a bit like the auld
Corvy ! "

"Of course she's not!" said Daly, testily, for the
remark had suddenly aroused him from his musings.
" What the devil would you have ? Are you like the raw
and ragged fellow I took from this bleak coast, and led
over more than half the world ? "

" Troth, I am no the same man noo that I was sax-and-
forty years agane, and sorry I am to say it,"


" Sorry sorry ! not to be half-starved, and less than
half-clad ; hauling a net one day, and being dragged for
yourself the next sorry ! "

" Even sae, sore sorry. Eight-and-sixty may be aye
sorry not to be twa-and-twenty. I ken nae rise in life can
pay off that score. It's na ower pleasant to think on,
but I'm no the man I was then. No, nor for that matter,
yerself neither."

Daly was too long accustomed to the familiarity of
Sandy's manner to feel offended at the remark, though
he did not seem by any means to relish its application.
Without making any reply, he arose and entered the hall.
On every side were objects reminding him of the past,
strange, and sad commentary on the words of his servant.
Sandy appeared to feel the force of such allies, and, as he
stood near, watched the effect the various articles produced
on his master's countenance.

" A bonnie rifle she is," said he, as if interpreting the
admiring look Daly bestowed upon a richly ornamented
gun. " Do you mind the day yer honour shot the corbie
at the Tegern See ? "

" Where the Tyrol fellows set on us, on the road to
Innspruck, and I brought down the bird to show them
that they had to deal with a marksman as good at least
as themselves."

" Just sae, it was a bra' shot, your hand was as firm,
and your eye as steady then as any man's."

" I could do the feat this minute," said Daly, angrily,
as turning away he detached a heavy broadsword from the

" She was aye over weighty in the hilt," said Sandy,
with a dry malice.

" You used to draw that bowstring to your ear," said
Daly, sternly, as he pointed to a Swiss bow of portentous

" I had twa hands in those days," said the other,
ealmly, and without the slightest change of either voice
or manner.

Not so with him to whom they were addressed. A
flood of feelings seemed to pour across his memory, and
laying his hand on Sandy's shoulder, he said, in an accent


of very unusual emotion, " You are right, Sandy, I must
be changed from what 1 used to be."

" Let us awa to the auld life wo led in those days,"
said the other, impetuously, "and we'll soon be ourselves
again ! Doesn't that remind yer honour of the dark night
on the Ottawa, when you sent the canoe, with the pine-
torch burning in her bow, down the stream ; and drew all
the fire of the Indian fellows on her."

t; It was a grand sight," cried Daly, rapturously, *' to
see the dark river glittering with its torchlight, and the
chiefs, as they stood rifle in hand, peei-ing into the dense
pine copse, and making the echoes ring with their war-

" It was unco near at one time," said Sandy, as he took
up the fold of the blanket with which his effigy in the
canoe was costumed. " There's the twa bullet-holes,
ami here, the arrow-head in the plank, where I had my
head ! If ye had missed the Delaware chap wi' the yellow
cloth on his forehead "

" I soon changed its colour for him," said Daly,

" Troth did ye ; ye gied him a bonny war paint ; how
he sprang into the air ; I think I see him noo ; many a
night when I'm lying awake, I think I can hear the
dreadful screech he gave, as he plunged into the river."

" It was not a cry of pain, it was baffled vengeance,"
said Daly.

" He never forgave the day ye gripped him by the twa
hands in yer ain one, and made the squaws laugh at him.
Eh, how that auld deevil they cau'd Black Buffalo yelled !
Her greasy cheeks shook and swelled over her dark eyes,
till the face looked like nothing but a tar lake in Demerara
wheu there's a hurricane blowin' over it."

" You had rather a tenderness in that quarter, if I re-
member aright," said Daly, dryly.

" I'll no deny she was a bra sauncie woman, and kenned
weel to make a haggis wi' an ape's head and shoulders."
Sandy smacked his lips, as if the thought had brought up
pleasant memories.

" How I escaped that bullet is more than I can guess,"
said Daly, as he inspected the blanket where it was pierced


by a shot ; and as he spoke he threw its wide folds over
his shoulders, the better to judge of the position.

" Ye aye wore it more on this side," said Sandy,
arranging the folds with tasteful pride ; " an troth, it
becomes you well. Tak the bit tomahawk in your hand,
noo. Ech ! but yer like yoursel once more."

" We may have to don this gear again, and sooner than
you think," said Daly, thoughtfully.

" N"ae a bit sooner than I'd like," said Sandy. " The
salvages, as they ca' them, hae neither baillies nor police-
men, they hae nae cranks about lawyers and 'tornies ; a
grip o' a man's hair and a sharp knife is even as mickle a
reason as a hempen cord and a gallows tree ! Ech, it
warms my bluid again to see you etridin' up and doon
if you had but a smudge o' yellow ochre, or a bit o' red
round your eyes, ye'd look awful well."

" What are you staring at ? " said Daly, as Sandy
opened a door stealthily, and gazed down the passage
towards the kitchen.

" I'm thinking that as there is naebody in the house but
the twa lasses, maybe your honour would try a war-cry
ye ken ye could do it bra'ly once."

" I may need the craft soon again," said Daly, thought-

" Mercy upon us ! here's the leddies ! " cried Sandy.
But before Daly could disencumber himself of his weapons
and costume, Helen entered the hall.

If Lady Eleanor started at the strange apparition before
her, and involuntarily turned her eye towards the canoe,
to see that its occupant was still there, it is not much to
be wondered at, so strongly did the real and the counter-
feit man resemble each other. The first surprise over, he
was welcomed with sincere pleasure. All the eccentricities
of character which in former days were commented on so
sharply were forgotten, or their memory replaced by the
proofs of his ardent devotion.

" How well you are looking ! " was his first exclama-
tion, as he gazed at Lady Eleanor and Helen alternately,
with that steady stare which is one of the prerogatives of
age towards beauty.

" There is no such tonic as necessity," said Lady



Eleanor, smiling, " and it would seem as if health were
too jealous to visit us, when we have every other bless-

"It is worth them all, madam. I am an old man, and
have seen much of the world, and I can safely aver, that
what are called its trials lie chiefly in our weaknesses.
We can all of us carry a heavier load than fortune lays

on us " He suddenly checked himself, as if having

unwittingly lapsed into something like rebuke, and then
said, " I find you alono ; is it not so ? "

" Yes ; Darcy has left us, suddenly and almost mys-
teriously, without you can help us to a clearer insight.
A letter from the War-office arrived here on Tuesday,
acknowledging, in most complimentary terms, the fairness
of his claim for military employment, and requesting his
presence in London. This was evidently in reply to an
application, although the Knight made none such."

" But he has friends, mamma warm-hearted and affec-
tionate ones who might have done, so," said Helen, as
she fixed her gaze steadily on Daly.

"And yon, madam, have relatives of high and com-
manding influence," said he, avoiding to return Helen's
glance " men of rank and station, who might well feel
proud of such a protege as Maurice Darcy. And what
have they given him ? "

" We can tell you. nothing ; the official letter may
explain more to your clear-sightedness, and I will fetch
it." So saying, Lady Eleanor arose and left the room.
Scarcely had the door closed, when Daly stood up, and
walking over, leaned his arm on the back of Helen's

"You received my letter, did you not? " said he, hur-
riedly. " You know the result of the trial ? "

Helen nodded assent, while a secret emotion covered
her face with crimson, as Daly resumed :

" There was ill-luck everywhere : the case badly stated ;
Lionel absent ; I myself detained in Dublin, by an un-
avoidable necessity everything unfortunate even to the
last incident. Had I been there, matters would have
taken another course. Still, Helen, Forester was right ;
and, depend upon it, there is no scanty store of generous


warmth in a heart that can throb so strongly beneath the
aiguiletted coat of an aide-de-camp. The holiday habits
of that tinsel life teach few lessons of self-devotion, and
the poor fellow has paid the penalty heavily."

" What has happened ? " said Helen, in a voice scarcely

" He is disinherited, I hear. All his prospects depended
on his mother ; she has cast him off, and, as the story
goes, is about to marry. Marriage is always the last
vengeance of a widow."

"Here is the letter," said Lady Eleanor, entering;
" let us hope you can read its intentions better than we

" Flattering, certainly," muttered Daly, as he conned
over the lines to himself. " It's quite plain they mean
to do something generous. I trust I may learn it before
I sail."

" Sail ! you are not about to travel, are you ? " asked
Lady Eleanor, in a voice that betrayed her dread of being
deprived of such support.

" Oh ! I forgot I hadn't told you. Yes, madam, another
of those strange riddles which have beset my life compels
me to take a long voyage to America."

" To America ! " echoed Helen ; and her eye glanced as
she spoke to the Indian war-cloak and the weapons that
lay beside his chair.

"Not so, Helen," said Daly, smiling, as if replying to
the insinuated remark ; " I am too old for such follies now.
Not in heart, indeed, but in limb," added he, sternly ; " for
I own I could ask nothing better than the prairie or the
pine-forest. I know cf no cruelty in savage life that has
not its counterpart amid our civilization, and for the rude
virtues that are nurtured there, they are never warmed
into existence by the hotbed of selfishness."

" But why leave your friends ? your sister ? "

"My sister! " He paused, and a tinge of red came to
his cheek as he remembered how she had failed in all
attention to the Darcys. "My sister, madam, is self-
willed and headstrong as myself. She acknowledges
none of the restraints or influence by which the social
world consents to be bound and regulated ; her path has


ever been wild and erratic as my own. We sometimes
cross, we never contradict, each other." He paused, and
then muttered to himself, " Poor Molly ! how different I
knew you once ! And so," added he, aloud, " I must
leave without seeing Darcy ! and there stands Sandy,
admonishing me that my time is already up. Good-by,
Lady Eleanor; good-by, Helen." He turned his head
away for a second, and then, in a voice of unusual feeling,
said : " Farewell is always a sad word, and doubly sad
when spoken by one old as I am ; but if my heart is
heavy at this moment, it is the selfish sorrow of him who
parts from those so near. As for you, madam, and your
fortunes, I am full of good hope. When people talk of
suffering virtue, believe me, the element of courage must
be wanting ; but where the stout heart unites with the
good cause, success will come at last."

He pressed his lips to the hands he held within his own,
and hurried, before they could reply, from the room.

"Our last friend gone!" exclaimed Lady Eleanor, as
she sank into a chair.

Helen's heart was too full for utterance, and she sat
down silently, and watched the retiring figure of Daly and
his servant till they disappeared in the distance.




WHEN Darcy arrived in London, he found a degree of
political excitement for which he was little prepared. In
Ireland, the Union had absorbed all interest and anxiety,
and with the fate of that measure were extinguished the
hopes of those who had speculated on national indepen-
dence. Not so in England ; the real importance of the
annexation was never thoroughly considered till the fact
was accomplished, nor, until then, were the great advan-
tages and the possible evils well and maturely weighed.
Then, for the first time, came the anxious question, What
next ? Was the Union to be the compensation for large
concessions to the Irish people, or was it rather the seal
of their incorporation with a more powerful nation, who,
by this great stroke of policy, would annihilate for ever
all dream of self-existence ? Mr. Pitt inclined to the
former opinion, and believed the moment propitious to
award the Roman Catholic claims, and to a general remis-
sion of those laws which pressed so heavily upon them.
To this opinion the King was firmly and, as it proved,
insurmountably opposed ; he regarded the Act of Union
as the final settlement of all possible disagreements be-
tween the two countries, as the means of uniting the two
Churches, and finally, of excluding at once and for ever the
admission of Roman Catholics to Parliament. This wide
difference led to the retirement of Mr. Pitt, and subse-
quently to the return of the dangerous indisposition of
the King, an attack brought on by the anxiety and agita-
tion this question induced.

The hopes of the Whig party stood high ; the Prince's
friends, as they were styled, again rallied around Carltori


House, where, already, the possibility of a long Regency
was discussed. Besides these causes of excitement were
others of not less powerful interest; the growing power of
Bonaparte, the war in Egypt, and the possibility of open
hostilities with Russia, who had now thrown herself so
avowedly into the alliance of France.

Such were the stirring themes Darcy found agitating
the public mind, and he could not help contrasting the
mighty interests they involved with the narrow circle of
consequences a purely local Legislature could discuss or
decide upon. He felt at once that he trod the soil of a
more powerful and more ambitious people, and he remem-
bered with a sigh his own anticipations, that in the
English Parliament the Irish members would be but the
camp-followers of the Crown or the Opposition.

If he was English in his pride of government and his
sense of national power and greatness, he was Irish in his
tastes, his habits, and his affections. If he gloried in the
name of Briton as the type of national honour and truth
throughout the globe, he was still more ardently attached
to that land where, under the reflected grandeur of the
monarchy, grew up the social affections of a poorer people.
There is a sense of freedom and independence in the habits
of semi-civilization very fascinating to certain minds, and
all the advantages of more polished communities are
deemed shallow compensation for the ready compliance
and cordial impulses of the less cultivated.

With all his own high acquirements the Knight was of
this mind, and if ho did not love England less, he loved
Ireland more.

Meditating on the great changes of fortune Ireland had
undergone even within his own memory, he moved along
through the crowded thoroughfares of the mighty city,
when he heard his name called out, and at the same
instant a carriage drew up close by him.

" How do you do, Knight ? " said a friendly voice, as a
hand was stretched forth to greet him. It was Lord
Castlerengh, who had only a few weeks previous exchanged
his office of Irish Secretary for a post at the Board of
Trade. The meeting was a cordial one on both sides, and
ended in an invitation to dine on the following day, which



Darcy accepted with willingness, as a gage of mutual
good feeling and esteem.

" 1 was talking about you to Lord Netherby only yester-
day," said Lord Castlereagh, " and, from some hints he
dropped, I suspect the time is come that I may offer you
any little influence I possess, without it taking the odious
shape of a bargain ; if so, pray remember that I have as
much pride as yourself on such a score, and will be
offended if you accept from another what might come
equally well through me.''

The Knight acknowledged this kind speech with a
grateful smile and a pressure of the hand, and was about
to move on, when Lord Castlereagh asked if he could not
drop him in his carriage at his destination, and thus
enjoy, a few moments longer, his sbciety.

" I scarcely can tell you, my lord," said Darcy, laugh-
ing, " which way I was bent on following. I came up to
town to present myself at the Duke of York's levee, and
it is only a few moments since I remembered that I was
not provided with a uniform."

" Oh, step in then," cried Lord Castlereagh, hastily ;
" I think I can manage that difficulty for you ; there is a
levee this very morning ; some pressing intelligence has
arrived from Egypt, and his Royal Highness has issued a
notice for a reception for eleven o'clock. You are not
afraid," said Lord Castlereagh, laughing, as Darcy took
his seat beside him " you are not afraid of being seen in
such company now."

" If I am not, my lord, set my courage down to my
principle ; for I never felt your kindness so dangerous,"
said the Knight, with something of emotion.

A few moments of rapid driving brought them in front
of the duke's residence, where several carriages and led
horses were now standing, and officers in full dress were
seen to pass in and out, with signs of haste and eagerness.

" I told you we should find them astir here," said Lord
Castlereagh. " Holloa, Fane, have you heard anything
new to-day ? "

The officer thus addressed touched his hat respectfully,
and approaching the window of the carriage, whispered a
few words in Lord Castlereagh's ear.


" Is the news confirmed ? " said his lordship, calmly.

" I believe so, my lord ; at least, Edgecumbe says he
heard it from Duridas, who got it from Pitt himself."

" Bad tidings these, Knight," said Lord Castlereagh,
as the aide-de-camp moved away ; " Pulteney's expedition
against Ferrol has failed. These conjoint movements of
army and navy seem to have a most unlucky fortune."

" What can you expect, my lord, from an ill-assorted
' Union ' ? " said Darcy, slily.

" They'll work better after a time," said Lord Castle-
reagh, smiling good-humouredly at the hit ; " for the
present, I acknowledge the success is not flattering. The
general always discovers that the land batteries can only
be attacked in the very spot where the admiral pro-
nounces the anchorage impossible ; each feels com-
promised by the other; hence envy and every manner
of uncharitableness."

"And what has been the result here? Is it a re-

" You can scarcely call it that, since they never attacked.
They looked at the place, sailed round it, and, like the
King of France in the story, they marched away again.
But here we are at length at the door ; let us try if we
cannot accomplish a landing better than Lord Keith and
General Moore."

Through a crowd of anxious faces, whose troubled looks
tallied with the evil tidings, Lord Castlereagh and Darcy
ascended the stairs and reached the ante-chamber, now
densely thronged by officers of every grade of the service.
His lordship was immediately recognized and surrounded
by many of the company, eager to hear his opinion.

" You don't appear to credit the report, my lord," said
Dftrcy, who had watched with some interest the air of
quiet incredulity which he assumed.

" It is all true, notwithstanding," said he, in a whisper ;
*' I heard it early this morning at the Council, and came here
to see how it would be received. They say that war will
be soon as unpopular with the red-coats as with the no-
coats ; and really to look at these sombre faces, one would
say there was some truth in the rumour. But here comes
Taylor." And so saying, Lord Castlereagh moved for-

K 2


ward, and laid his hand on the arm of an officer in a staff

" I don't think so, my lord," said he, in reply to some
question from Lord Castlereagh ; " I'll endeavour to
manage it, but I'm afraid I shall not succeed. Have you
heard of Elliot's death ? The news has just arrived."

" Indeed ! So then the government of Chelsea is to
give away. Oh, that fact explains the presence of so many
veteran generals ! I really was puzzled to conceive what
martial ardour stirred them."

" You are severe, my lord," said Darcy ; " I hope you
are unjust."

" One is rarely so in attributing a selfish motive any-
where," said the young nobleman, sarcastically. " But,
Taylor, can't you arrange this affair ? Let me present
my friend meanwhile : The Knight of Gwynne Colonel

Before Taylor could more than return the Knight's
salutation, he was summoned to attend his Royal High-
ness, and, at the same moment, the folding-doors at the
end of the apartment were thrown open and the reception

Whether the sarcasm of Lord Castlereagh was correct,
or that a nobler motive was in operation, the number of
officers was very great, and although the duke rarely
addressed more than a word or two to each, a consider-
able time elapsed before Lord Castlereagh, with the
Knight following, had entered the room.

" It is against a positive order of his Royal Highness,
my lord," said an aide-de-camp, barring the passage;
" none but field-officers, and in fall uniform, are received
by his Royal Highness."

Lord Castlereagh whispered something, and endeavoured
to move on, but again the other interposed, saying, " In-
deed, my lord, I'm deeply grieved at it, but I cannot
I dare not transgress my orders."

The Duke, who had been up to this moment engaged in
conversing with a group, suddenly turned, and perceiving
that the presentations were not followed up, said, " Well,
gentlemen, 1 am waiting." Then recognizing Lord
Castlereagh, he added, " Another time, nay lord, another


time : this morning belongs to the service, and the colour
of your coat excludes you."

''I ask your Royal Highness's pardon," said Lord
Castlereagh, in a tone of great deference, while he made
the apology an excuse for advancing a step into the room.
" I have but just left the Council, and was anxious to in-
form you that your Royal Highness's suggestions have
been fully adopted."

"Indeed! is that the case?" said the Duke, with an
elated look, while he drew his lordship into the recess of
a window. The intelligence, to judge from the Duke's

Online LibraryCharles James Lever[Charles Lever's novels (Volume 13) → online text (page 11 of 35)